Frequently Asked Questions about Key Capabilities
Below is a list of questions (and their answers) that have arisen at the seminars. This is a useful way to check out areas you may be unsure of, particularly if used in conjunction with the grid of examples. Please feel free to submit any further questions by contacting the project.
- Are there actually only two requirements?
No! All of the learning requirements have to be met at the appropriate level, some as part of the taught programme (campus) and some during agency-based practice learning. There are two core requirements to be achieved within practice learning settings, one of which requires the student to undertake an assessment of a child or of parenting capacity and this must have taken place by the time of graduation. The other requires the student to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the implications for child care and protection of their practice learning setting, whatever the context.
- My practice setting is a day care facility for older people. How can I provide the practice learning opportunity the student requires to meet KC?
There are a number of creative ways this can be achieved and the website grid has very good examples from this kind of setting. It stands to reason that in the majority of practice settings, be it, for example, working with mental health issues, criminal justice, adults with disabilities, the individuals we support live in some kind of family context.
- Where can we find a statement about the SSSC expectations?
The SSSC, in its quality assurance role, will ensure that the Universities evidence how they have embedded Key Capabilities in their degree programmes. This expectation was made explicit by the Minister and is set out in a statement and in two letters from SSSC to Universities and to employer agencies which are now posted on this project website
- Does assessed work undertaken prior to Key Capabilities being a requirement within programmes "count"?
Yes, although this would need to be evidenced by the student and at the appropriate SCQF level. It may be that the student might revisit earlier work that has not been assessed against the KC and reflect on any additional learning to be gleaned, although this should not, obviously, constitute a re-assessment.
- Do Key Capabilities apply to DipSW students?
No, they were written and levelled for the four years of the degree and the 2 year Masters but, again, if any remaining DipSW students who are still being assessed have the chance to revisit their earlier work and reflect on KC, this would be a good thing.
- What if we can't provide the necessary opportunities for graduating students in spite of best efforts?
We are confident that partnership working will meet the learning needs of the majority of this academic session's final year students, and of course for subsequent years this will be built into the planning process for all students.
However, in the unlikely event of a problem arising for the graduating students this year, HEIs should contact the SSSC to discuss the situation as soon as possible. We have to point out the consequences of student needs not being met, however, in terms of their ability to be registered.
- How will we quality assure Key Capabilities to keep them "current"?
Just as SSSC would quality assure elements of the programme. Also students would have to be using relevant theoretical underpinning. Reprints as in any text book will accommodate updates and electronic updates are probably more feasible.
- Can we simulate situations in relation to the two core requirements the way we used to when there were, eg, no appropriate anti-racist opportunities for students?
No - the requirements are such that direct work is required but this can be addressed in a creative way, the underlying principle being that to properly offer child care and protection the skills and abilities would be applied as a matter of course in working in family situations and in any situation where children are part of the equation.
Also there must always be an authentic, recognised need in a specific child care situation so that service users are never put in the position of being exploited for the purposes of a student’s practice learning needs.
- Can students draw on extra-curricular activities, such as paid sessional employment or voluntary work?
In principle, yes, in relation to knowledge and reflection and appropriately referenced and evidenced.
- How do I, as a practice teacher, record that Key Capabilities have been met if they are not part of the existing University documentation I am required to use?
We expect that Universities are currently adapting existing practice learning pro-forma to accommodate these requirements. It is important that these accurately reflect the wording of Key Capabilities. Some Universities have already produced a proforma, and we hope to post such an example on this website in due course which could be downloaded and adapted as required.
- If a student is at level 9 but thought to be functioning at level 10, can they be assessed at level 10 while doing their level 9 work, and the credits "banked" for carrying over to level 10?
No, for all sorts of reasons. A student should not be assessed at a level beyond their year of study. The requirements are incremental so in essence this would mean the student meeting two levels of the standards simultaneously. They need, rather, to evidence one level before progressing to the next. It would also introduce an element of inequality as students achieve learning at different rates. Level 9 students will still have the opportunity to meet the requirements in level 10 because for example, they have to demonstrate knowledge and application in whatever setting their practice learning opportunity takes place.
- What about Masters students who are assessed at level 11? Doesn't the fact that KC are set at a maximum of level 10 somewhat diminish their importance?
No because Key Capabilities clarify minimum standards. When they were devised it was agreed in terms of consistency that a qualifying student should achieve level 10 in Key Capabilities in Child Care and Protection, whatever route to qualification is undertaken.
- If students started, or completed, their final practice learning before September 07, how can they meet the requirements?
They are not expected to. However it may be possible for the student, in what remains of their programme, to revisit earlier work that has not been assessed against the KC and reflect on any additional learning to be gleaned, although this should not, obviously, constitute a re-assessment.
- How can I post examples from my own practice on the website?
When you visit the website and view current examples, you will be invited to post examples of your own. These will automatically be sent to the project team who will edit them as required and add them to the website.